SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1994

Fuel Isolation, Identification and Quantitation from Soils


The Fuel Isolation, Identification and Quantitation method is designed to extract, classify and effectively quantitate fuels such as gasoline, kerosene, jet fuels, diesel, certain motor oils, heating oils and bunker “C” from surface and subsurface soils. This method also provides the solution to problems associated with modified methods used by individual states for analysis of fuels during underground storage tank removal or servicing. Twenty to thirty grams of soil mixed with equal portions of sodium sulfate are extracted with methylene chloride. The extracts are dried over sodium sulfate, concentrated using Kuderna-Danish concentrators, cleaned and then subjected to gas chromatographic analysis (figure 1). Accelerated extraction is achieved using one gram of soil and sonicating the sample with methylene chloride for about five minutes. The extract is analyzed by employing a temperature-programmed, capillary column and flame ionization detector. The fuel confirmation is achieved by comparing the sample chromatograms with chromatograms of standard fuels. The quantitation of specific fuel and lubricant content in the extract is accomplished by summing the area under the chromatogram over the entire characteristic range of the given fuel. This is done for samples and standards with sample concentrations determined from a standard curve. The matrix spike recoveries of gasoline, kerosene and mineral spirits range from 60 through 100-percent; high boiling fuels, including jet fuel, diesel fuel No. 2 and bunker “C” (diesel No. 6) range from 70 through 125-percent in soil. This method provides complete identification and quantitation of fuels without employing multiple analytical techniques.

Author Information

Ilias, AM
North Pacific Division Laboratory, Troutdale, OR
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 12–26
DOI: 10.1520/STP12652S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5276-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1898-0